and the goody bags are getting fat down at the Saxon Viking Norman events. Friday’s advent challenge saw runners take home a chocolate filled advent calendar as well as an absolutely massive piece of bling!

Matt Jones completed 30.5 miles in 5:43:49, although he was an hour late to the start due to traffic jams, so his time running was actually 4:40:01. Deborah Cubberley and Paul Hollidge completed 26.2 miles in 4:33:41

[Bling! Cubberley and Hollidge with their advent marathon medals]


All three chose to stay another day and run again on Saturday 2nd December: Matt Jones completing his second ultra of the weekend at the Fowlmead Challenge. A timely start meant that officially he improved on Friday’s performance with a time of 4:40:13 for 28:35 miles.

[Bling bling! Jones with his ultra marathon mementos]


Paul Hollidge and Deborah Cubberley took on Chelmsford parkrun for the first time as their recovery run after marathoning; finishing together in 27:53.

At Ipswich parkrun Luke Groves was a debutant on the course with canine companion Meatball. Groves crossed the line in 24:14, which was a second dog finish for Meatball. Rumour has it that John Ferdinand was also at Ipswich parkrun, however somethin’ stupid has happened with the results as he is eluding this race reporter.

Mersea Island’s parkrun had only you Lee Clarkson to represent the blue vests. Finishing in 8th position, Clarkson stopped the clock in 22:19.

At Harwich parkrun Benjamin justiceforjanice Ficken finished in 20:03 as 3rd finisher. For the ladies on the Harwich course were Cherie Hipkins in 36:23 and Leoni Harvey in 28:32.

At Clacton Seafront, Ray Baggs was the third runner to finish with a time of 19:17. John Gwillim ran a personal best time of 23:33; Patrick Reynolds stopped the clock in 22:11; Kevin James finished in 24:09; and Alison Clarke crossed the line in 31:13.

It was a personal best run for Nick Goodman at Colchester Castle parkrun who finished in 23:01. Goodman was chased in by Meera Rajoo-Oakley who, after a week of (mistletoe and) wine, faded and stopped the clock in 23:12. Scott Young once again declared the park’s hill as too much as he finished in 24:20; Tomas Komorowski made it back to the ban stand in 25:24 and Malcolm Jarvis completed his 5000 meters in 26:45.

Two became one later on Saturday as Deborah Cubberley ditched Paul Hollidge to run on her own at the Essex Vets cross country championships. Held on the green green grass of Writtle, using a similar course to that which opened the 53-12 league this season, Cubberley finished in 86th with a time of 44:49. Although without Hollidge, Cubberley was joined on the course by Vicky Presland, who finished in 37:59 and 29th position; and Geraldine Springett who crossed the line in 40:16, 48th female.

For the men over 40 the club was represented by Russ Sharp and for the men over 50, Frank Gardiner. Sharp finished in 27th with a time of 31:10 and Gardiner was 96th in 42:20.

[Left: Hollidge on the sidelines at XC; Centre: Gardiner, Springett, Presland and Cubberley all smiles after running; Right: Sharp battles for position in the final stretch]

It wasn’t just the ‘oldies’ out this weekend: in the Essex Cross Country under 15 girls Milly Presland placed third in a time of 15:59; and at Colchester junior parkun Angel Jasper bagged another personal best run in a time of 9:23, the fourth finisher that day. Rufus Keitch ran his 44th parkrun in 13:41 and Yasmin Leek finished her 36th in 15:40.

Switzerland’s season’s in the sun have definitely ended as sub-zero temperatures met Kim Chatting as she took on the Course Du Duc for the second time this year. The race is only held one in every five years and covers a 19.5km course over some skyscraper hills. Chatting finished in 1:41:43, consistent with her previous attempt and within the top fifth of the female field.

[Chatting takes on the Course Du Duc in Switzerland]

kim chatting